Mariposa,first settled in 1849, is the southern most in the Gold Rush chain of towns. The streets follow the original street grid laid out by John C Fremont in 1850. Several disastrous early fires convinced settlers to rebuild with stone, brick and adobe. Consequently, many of today’s existing structures in the historic downtown had been built by the late 1850s, with most of the remaining ones completed by 1900. Because they’ve always been in use, the old buildings haven’t had to be restored or recreated.
Change has come gracefully to Mariposa. You won’t see vintage stage coaches nor actors in period costumes roaming the streets, not even a simulated gun fight. But you also won’t see strip malls or chain stores, and Mariposa remains one of a handful of California counties with nary a stop light.
You’ll find a warm welcome at our lodgings, and small town friendliness in the shops, galleries and restaurants.
Feel the old West as you stroll up the historic main street or take a tour of the 1854 court house, the oldest court house west of the Rockies still in continuous operation. Experience the old days in the exhibits at the Mariposa Museum and History Center, named one of the best small museums in America by the Smithsonian Institute.
A mile and a half south of town, on Highway 49S, is the Mariposa County Fairgrounds. Labor Day weekend brings the county fair, a fun-filled four day gala combining traditional farm and rural exhibits, art, cultural and craft displays, a lively midway, and a variety of entertainment events. During the other fifty-one weeks of the year, the Fairgrounds serve as venue for numerous activities such as rallies, get-togethers, dances, dinners, flea markets, and a variety of events sponsored by various volunteer organizations. Please check our Calendar of Events to see what’s happening during your visit.
The fairgrounds also hosts the California State Mining and Mineral Museum.
Featuring exhibits and displays that illuminate the mining practices of Gold Rush days, such as an authentic 1860-70′s operational gold-processing stamp mill, and the mining tunnel, which allows visitors to see and experience an underground miner’s life. The museum collection was started in 1865 and includes over 13,000 minerals, rocks, gems, historic artifacts and fossils.